Professor of Comparative Literature
He has also taught as a visiting professor at the Free University Berlin and at the University of Toulouse, and has been the director of Hampshire's semester-long study abroad program. He has published widely on nineteenth- and twentieth-century European literature; on biography and literary portraiture; on testimony, Holocaust literature, and Berlin Jewish history; and on debates about education. His book Closed Encounters: Literary Politics and Public Culture was published by the University of Minnesota Press.
Some of his most recent publications are "Beckett in Time of Crisis," "Totem and Taboo: The Perverse Writings of Ka-Tzetnik 135633," "The Lure of the Archive: The Atlas Projects of Walid Raad," "Migrant Visions: The Scheunenviertel and Boyle Heights, Los Angeles," “Twemlow’s Abyss,” "Narrative Tensions: The Eyewitness and the Archive,” "Falling Under an Evil Influence," "The Death and Discontents of Theory," and "Sociable Robots und das Posthumane." He is currently working on a study of the archive in contemporary thought and art.
His teaching interests include 19th- and 20th-century comparative literature (German, French, British), critical theory, Holocaust Studies, modernism, Jewish Studies, psychoanalysis, and philosophy.
The problem of evil won't go away. Despite repeated attempts to dismiss the concept of evil as archaic and outmoded, it continues to haunt contemporary culture and thought. In literature, evil becomes a particularly prominent theme in the 19th century. Is literature intimately--or necessarily--connected to transgression, and to evil? We will explore 19th- and 20th-century literary as well as philosophical texts that take up the fascination with evil, and explore the difficulties thinkers have in confronting and making sense of it. We will also watch a few films that engage the question of evil. (keywords: literature, philosophy, ethics)
This course is a selective study of the institutions of museums and archives. In a seminar format we will read and discuss a small number of theoretical essays, both canonical and non-canonical, that will help us explore why engaging with the collecting of artworks and the storage of documents have become central for contemporary thought and artistic practice. Our inquiries will range from the Wunderkammer and the imperialist origins of museums to the place of archives in contemporary art practices. Occasional guest speakers from museums and archives will join us (in Zoom meetings, and perhaps in person) as we debate issues of decolonization and provenance; the artist as curator and the curator as artist; questions of reproduction and the copy; and the place of memory studies in archives and museums today. Students will be responsible for a rigorous independent research project, culminating in a curatorial or archival project. (keywords: museums, art history, literature, archives)
Shortly after their arrival in February and before the start of the German semester in the beginning of April, students enroll in an intensive German language course (5 days/week and 4 hours/day) in accordance with their German language proficiency at a leading foreign language academy in Berlin. With the start of the German semester students may choose to continue their language study by enrolling in a language course offered at the Freie University in Berlin (4 to 6 hours/week).